“[O]n the pro-control side, the pro-borders side, the kooks and the racists are at the fringes,” said Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies on CNN’s Glenn Beck show last week. “They’re nuts, you know, living in their mother’s basements.”
Krikorian, fellow guest Jim Gilchrist, and host Mike Brooks were complaining that the California Department of Transportation is moving the adopt-a-highway sign of the San Diego Minutemen to a less prominent area. But if these anti-immigrant commentators wanted to make the point that the anti-immigrant fringe is not part of their side of the debate, perhaps they would have been more convincing had they not been defending one of the most militant and radical vigilante groups in the country.
On this blog we’ve seen the San Diego Minutemen:
- on film aggressively harassing day-laborers,
- conducting an over-the-top protest of a Catholic church that offered breakfast to day-laborers (see photo),
- and ransacking a campground where a number of migrant workers lived—also on film.
A profile of the San Diego Minutemen by the Southern Poverty Law Center notes that the group was disowned for extremism by both major national Minutemen factions—including the Minuteman Project, founded by Gilchrist. But on CNN, Gilchrist said the dispute over SDMM was a matter of “those opposed to immigration law enforcement.”
CNN’s panel—composed of three anti-immigrant activists—was timely evidence for the importance of a new project from the National Council of La Raza to stop the increasing appearance of hate groups and extremists as “experts” in the immigration debate. Indeed, Gilchrist is listed on the site as a “suspect spokesperson,” a self-proclaimed vigilante featured as an immigration expert, and Glenn Beck is named as one of the prominent media hosts of extremism.